Erie Railroad Biography - Samuel Cochrane

Samuel Cochrane

SAMUEL COCHRANE, Meadville, Pennsylvania.
A highly respected citizen of Meadville and one of the Erie's most efficient engineers is Samuel Cochrane. He was born in Rochester, New York, November, 1850, and was the son of Samuel Cochrane, a cooper of that place. After attending school until he was 13 years of age, he went to work as a clerk in a wholesale liquor house at Rochester, leaving there in July, 1870, to accept a position as fireman on the Atlantic & Great Western, running out of Meadville. Four years on freight and four years on passenger fitted him to become an engineer, and December 24, 1878, he received his promotion. He ran a freight train for seventeen years and then was advanced to a passenger run, but after two years he was given the local freight on his own request, and for the past eighteen months he has held this run, although his place on the engineers' roster and his ability entitle him to a passenger train should he choose it.

Mr. Cochrane was married November 28, 1875, to Miss Katherine Mitchell, daughter of Joseph Mitchell, an Erie engineer, now deceased. They have an interesting family of five children, of whom Katherine, aged 23, is a graduate of Meadville schools; Joseph, aged 18, is employed in the Erie shops; Samuel, aged 15; Lucy, aged 14, and Margaret, aged 12, are attending school.

Mr. Cochrane has never had an accident the result of inattention and has a very clear record. He is a member of B. of L. E., Division No. 43, and is highly regarded by his large circle of acquaintances. Mr. Cochrane has the distinction of having run the last broad-gauge engine west from Meadville previous to the road being narrowed.

Excerpted from: "American Locomotive Engineers, Erie Railway Edition," H.R. Romans Editor; Crawford-Adsit Company Publishers, Chicago, IL 1899.

From the February, 1915 issues of Erie Railroad Magazine:
Meadville Division Engineer S. Cochran, running engine #732 with fireman R.R. Rudd, was listed as being in the Order of the Red Spot for January, 1915. The Order was an honor bestowed on engine crews who operated efficiently with few engine failures.

From the April, 1915 issues of Erie Railroad Magazine:
Veteran engineer Sam Cochran has resumed duty, after being laid up several days with rheumatism.

From the September, 1920 issues of Erie Railroad Magazine:
Fifty Years and Still Going
SAMUEL COCHRAN is a veteran engineer of the Meadville division who has completed fifty years of service, and is still very much on his job.

The Meadville Tribune in publishing the record of Engineer Cochran, said that he began as fireman on the old A. & G. W., now the Erie's western lines on July 1, 1870, as fireman, and has continued right along through the several changes. He was promoted from fireman to freight engineer in 1878, and later was given a passenger run. During his long career in the cab Engineer Cochran has never figured in a serious accident, and in only a few minor ones. He is one of the members of the Order of the Red Spot, and has his name inscribed on the sides of the cab of his engine, number 732. At present he is handling passenger trains 211 and 212 on the Franklin branch. "Sam," as he is affectionately called, is highly regarded by his employers.

From the April, 1925 issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:
Engineer Samuel Cochran, of the Meadville Division, entered the service of the A&GW railroad as fireman on July 12, 1870, at Meadville, PA, engaging himself with J.A. Cooper, engine dispatcher. At that time the road extended from Salamanca to a point in Ohio, as a broad gauge, and there were still some wood-burning locomotives in service. Mr. Cochran fired on engines of the Smith and Jackson, Jersey and Cook type. The largest engine had a 16 X 24 inch cylinder. For a considerable period he fired for engineer C.H. Sweetman on train No. 3, and was promoted to engineer in 1878, running in freight service, most of which was on local runs.

At present Engineer Cochran is assigned to the Oil City branch passenger trains, Nos. 215, 216, 211 and 218, running between Meadville and Oil City. During the early part of his service there were no semaphore signals in use, and he can clearly remember that in approaching grade crossings engineers were required to stop, look and listen. If no one was heard or seen approaching the crossing, the engine could pull across.

Mr. Cochran has always lived in Meadville, making his home with his daughter. At the present time he is in splendid physical condition.

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